You want gaiters, we got gaiters. With apologies to Molly Hatchet, we're living in gaiter country. The latest resident is Kahtoola's INSTA gaiter low, which they bill as their lightest and most breathable gaiter. How does it measure up? Pretty well we think. We switched from boots to low-top trail runners/hikers a long time ago and have never looked back. Having a set of gaiters that pair up well with that footwear choice is great, so kudos to Kahtoola on this one.
But you want the deets, so more specifically, the INSTA gaiter measures up to just above the ankle. It is definitely low profile, but not too low. Basically you unzip the gaiter, wrap around your ankle – nice, no pulling on over muddy boots – zip it back up, cinch the ankle cord and connect the instep strap underneath the sole. It's a nicely executed and simple design that makes the whole process of gaitering and ungaitering quick and painless.
The stretch-woven nylon is lightweight and breathable. A pair weighs under 2oz and disappears in your pack in the included stuff sack. The TPU instep strap is tough and easy to snap into place, as long as you do it in the right direction: slide the hole over the bottom of the lug first then just press the top into place. Do not try to engage the top of the lug first, or pull down in that direction because that could tear the lug out of the fabric backing. If you're fighting it you're doing it wrong, because done right it's very quick and painless. Didn't we already say that though?